Invoking the spirit of ‘Satyameva Jayate’, the national motto which means truth alone prevails, the Supreme Court Thursday raised the heat on the BCCI saying this year IPL tournament can be allowed to start April 16 only if the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals teams are kept out in view of the corruption charges involving their players and officials. (Full story here)
A bench of Justices A K Patnaik and F M I Kalifulla also proposed replacing BCCI chief N Srinivasan with former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar as its interim head until the court decides the IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal case. (Also Read: Why BCCI hasn’t take any step against its chief — because it simply cannot)
The court also said employees of Srinivasan’s firm India Cements, which owns CSK, should be kept out of the BCCI.
The board has been asked to reply to the proposals on Friday when the court has said it will will pass appropriate orders. (Full story here)
After a rap on the knuckles by the court on Tuesday, Srinivasan told the court that he was willing to step aside and not function as the BCCI chief until a probe into the IPL corruption saga was on. He pressed for a time-bound probe.
While underscoring his statement, the bench said that for the time being it will not pass any order on his removal but it would definitely lay down conditions for IPL-7 to go on in the wake of the incriminating findings by the Mudgal panel which was appointed by the court.
“This is what we propose to do regarding the IPL. We will say Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals are not going to be allowed. We will pass orders tomorrow,” the bench said.
BCCI counsel C A Sundaram maintained it was difficult to rescind a franchisee agreement just like that but the court reminded him how the board suspended Rajasthan Royals part-owner Raj Kundra and also suspended Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan for betting in sports.
“If you can do this for them, you can do this for the team as well. You must be having such powers under the rules. Then, this is going to be only an interim arrangement. We are going to hear you before passing final orders,” it said.
The court asked the BCCI to get in touch with Gavaskar and ask him if he would want to take up the assignment and also check if he may have any conflict of interest while discharging the role.
The bench emphasised on the “integrity” of the cricketers and the game while regretting nobody seemed to be bothered about values and discipline anymore. “Who is bothered about values? Why will people, who are in power, listen to anyone else? But we realise ‘Satyameva Jayate’ and the truth shall ultimately prevail. This may take some time but ultimately the truth will come out,” it remarked.
The court said that taking decisions could be difficult but it shall do so in the interest of cricket and in the interest of the nation.
It also said that cricket was not anymore the game that was played with a “straight bat” , as Harish Salve, counsel for petitioner Cricket Association of Bihar, contended that cricket was known to be a gentleman’s game that could inculcate discipline.
Salve also accused Srinivasan and Indian captain M S Dhoni of a “brazen cover-up” in asserting Meiyappan was only a sports enthusiast and not a CSK team official whereas the probe panel categorically trashed their “false statement”. He pointed out that CSK and RR will be participating in IPL-7 despite such serious allegations.
On Tuesday, the court had effectively given Srinivasan an ultimatum to step down by Thursday or risk being removed by it. However, as Srinivasan volunteered to step aside, it did not pass any explicit order to this effect but came up with its sweeping set of proposals.